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tv   MSNBC Live With Tamron Hall  MSNBC  January 18, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST

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you heard a lot of not just policy but politics as well with senator patty murray immediately going after price on these questions of stock trades that he made prior to introducing a bill. democrats questioning whether it was an ethical conflict of interest. the trump transition team calling those allegations. it's not just the tom price hearing that is happening today but three other hearings for these top trump cabinet picks including nikki haley to be the u.n. ambassador. already we've seen haley pressed by senator ben cardin on her qualifications, her foreign policy experience, why she should serve. and a small protest at wilbur ross' hearing for commerce. we're going to continue to keep an eye on it right here on msnbc. for now we'll turn it over to my colleague tamron hall. >> thank you very much. some big developments in this hearing. the confirmation hearing for mr.
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price but a hearing nonetheless. we're getting some information on at least what he sees as the replacement for the affordable health care act or obamacare. so a lot of attention focused on these hearings for the president-elect's choice for health and human services. secretary congressman tom price of georgia, he san orthopedic surgeon. he's been an outspoken critic of the president's health care law but just now saying that he would be prepared to implement insurance for everyone, which is what the president-elect has said in a recent interview would be his goal and there would be no medicare overhaul. he has said he wants to transform medicare and there are ethics questions also surrounding an investigation into thousands of dollars in a biomedical company not long before introducing legislation that would benefit that company. some transactions there. let's get to msnbc political correspondent kasie hunt following the hearing from
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capitol hill. let's be clear. this is not the confirmation hearing. it's all scattered now. we are trying to follow the dots of what the president-elect is saying versus what some gop leadership is saying and that would be specifically speaker ryan and what we've heard these tidbits from this nominee for hhs secrety. >>hat's right, tamron. real quick, i want to set the scene for you on capitol hill. behind me down this hallway is where tom price is testifying currently before the health education, labor and pensions committee. these are two of the other hearings you were just talking about. and then down at the end of the hall, scott pruitt for the epa. so a really busy day here on capitol hill but a lot of the focus on that price hearing that isn't as you note technically a confirmation hearing. however, he is a linchpin in repealing the health care law.
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what republicans are grappling with is exactly what you outlined. there's a disconnect between what the republican party has been running on for all of these years. repeal obamacare and some of the comments donald trump is now making publicly saying that he does want to take care of people. he doesn't want people to lose their insurance. and republicans are having to wrap their heads around actually building out a replacement plan. and tom price has been pressed about that today. he has not said they don't know exactly yet what are going to be the tenets of that plan. he's been pressed on details of a plan that price himself proposed and outlined to be part of a replacement potent yeiallyr the health care law. you heard patty murray press him about whether people with pre-existing conditions woul be able to continue to buy insurance under this plan. and also heard her press him on what were talking about. that zimmer biomed stock purchase. it's a biomedical device company. and a piece of legislation
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called the 21st century cures act, if you hear senators talking about it. it included joe biden's cancer moonshot but also included provisions that democrats argue would benefit companies like zimmer biomed and they turned around and gave donations to tom price's political action committee. so that's what democrats are focused on right now. it's part of an overall political push to try to hold up price's nomination, to delay it because they know the administration is relying on him and him being in that chair at hhs to try to repeal this law. there's so much he can do just by himself from a regulatory perspective. we talk about birth control that's included. it's mandated to be covered under health care plans offered under the president's health care law. that's a regulation that tom price could simply decide is going to be invalid once he is confirmed as hhs secretary. so when you listen to how the transition team talks about
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this, they say repealing obamacare depends on getting price in at hhs and developing that replacement plan. this is democrats first step in trying to stand in the way of all of that. >> and going back again to how some of what we've heard from congressman price today differs, if that's a fair assessment, from what he has said prior to as a leading advocate and disassembling the affordable care act. >> it's a very tricky disconnect and we want to hear from the entirety of this testimony as he starts to walk by it. but basically what he said is covering all americans is a priority. and that has not necessarily been the way that republicans have approached this issue over the last five years. as they have opposed the president's health care law. there's been a much greater focus on controlling the cost of health care and there's an argument going on.
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democrats will say, yes, the premiums are going up but less than they would have if you didn't have obamacare in place. republicans point to those premium increases and say this is making it essentially unaffordable for americans to have coverage. and that's essentially the same as not having coverage at all because people are not buying it because they can't afford it. that, of course, is the same outcome as not having a lower cost plan in the first place. so that really, it's the fundamental problem that everyone is struggling to solve when you have a nation that's getting older, getting sicker in general. health care costs going up across the board. how do you control that while also making sure people get what they need? whether or not republicans can keep that promise about pre-exist conditions will be something that there will be a lot of focus on. >> and i have to tell our audience to focus on sarenator bernie sanders. he's now questioning tom price. >> quote march 29th, 2016, trump
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said paul ryan wants to knock out social security, knock it down, way down. he wants to knock medicare way down and, frankly, well, two things. you're going to lose the election if you're going to do that, i'm not going to cut it. and i'm not going to raise ages and do all of the things they want to do. but they want to really cut it and they want to cut it very substantially. the republicans. and i'm not going to do that. on and on and on. point being, this is not something he said in passing. i think it is likely he won the election because millions of working class people and senior citizens heard him say he kwwas not going to cut social security, medicare and medicaid. congressman price, is the president-elect, mr. trump, going to keep his word to the american people and not cut social security, medicare and medicaid or did he lie to the american people? >> i haven't had extensive
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discussions with him about the comments he made but i have no reason to believe he's changed his position. >> so you are telling us that to the best of your knowledge, mr. trump will not cut social security, medicare and medicaid? >> as i say, i have no reason to believe that position has changed. >> congressman price, quoting mr. trump, or paraphrasing him, just last week he said roughly speaking, pharma is getting away with murder. you recall that tweet? >> i do. >> okay. there are many of us on this side of the aisle who are working on legislation that would do at least two things. number one, understand the absurdity of the american people being ripped off by the pharmaceutical industry who two years ago made five -- five companies made $50 billion in profits while 1 out of 5 americans can't afford to fill the prescriptions their doctors write. will you and will the
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president-elect join us in legislation we are working on which, number one, will allow medicare to negotiate prices with the drug companies and lor es, and number two, allow the american people to bring in less expensive medicine from canada and other countries. is that something you'll work withous? >> the issue of drug pricing and drug costs is one of great concern to all americans. i think it's important to appreciate a couple of areas we've had success. whether it's in the generic area and in part -- >> you are aware, sir, we are paying by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. you don't disagree with that, do you? >> i think that's the case. i'd have to look at the statistics. i think there are a lot of reasons for that. if we get to the root cause of what that is we can solve it in a bipartisan way. >> one root cause is that every other major country on earth
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negotiates drug prices. in our country, the drug companies can raise their prices. today they can double their prices. there's no law to prevent them from doing that. will you work with us so that medicare negotiates prices with the pharmaceutical industry? >> you have my commitment to work with you and others to make certain that the drug pricing is reasonable and that individuals across this land have access to the medications that they need. >> wasn't quite the answer to the question that i asked. congressman price, the united states of america is the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right. canada does it. every major country in europe does it. do you believe that health care is a right of all americans whether they are rich or they are poor? should people, because they are americans, be able to go to the doctor when they need to, go into a hospital because they are
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americans? >> yes, we're a compassionate society. >> no, we are not a compassionate society in terms of our relationship to poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually any other nation. we have the highest rate of childhood poverty and our senior older workers have nothing set aside for retirement. i don't think we're particularly compassionate. but my question is, in canada, in other countries, all people have the right to get health care. do you believe we should move in that direction? >> if you want to talk about other countries' health care systems, there are consequences to the decisions that they've made as there are consequences to the decisions we've made. i look forward to making sure every single american has access to the highest quality coverage and care that is possible. >> has access to. does not mean that they are guaranteed health care. i have access to buying a $10 million home. i don't have to money to do that. >> and that's why we believe it's appropriate to put in place a system that gives every person
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the financial feasibility to be able to purchase the coverage that they want for themselves and for their family. not what the government forces them to buy. >> but if they don't have any -- that's a longer story. thank you very much. >> thank you, senator sanders. senator hatch. >> thank you, mr. chauirman. welcome to the committee. i've found you to be always very, very knowledgeable. >> thank you. >> very up front. very straightforward. very honest. and somebody who really understands health care system of this country. and you are just perfectly situated to be able to help turn it around and get it so it works. we hear a lot from our other side about how bad the system is and so forth and i've got to tell you, i don't think it's very good myself. we've got to work on it and get it done right but i'd sure like to have you right there helping to get it done because you are one of the really premier people in this whole congress and in the world as a matter of fact understanding what needs to be
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done. and yet recognizing the problems of getting it done. now dr. price, some of my colleagues have criticized you for your health-related stock holdings while serving in the house. now not only do house rules not prohibit members from trading stocks, but it is also not an uncommon practice for members of congress. in fact, there are members on this committee who have, as i understand it, who have traded individual health stocks while serving on this committee. and this appears to be nothing more than a hypocritical attack on your good character. and i personally resent it because you have always disclosed. but let me just say this. can you confirm, you have always followed the law relating to trading and stocks while serving as a member of congss? >> thank you, sir. everything that we have done has been above board, transparent, ethical and legal. as you know and the members of this committee know, there's an organization that's called the office of government ethics that
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looks at all of -- for every cabinet nominee, looks at all of the possessions, all the holdings and the like and makes a recommendation as to what that cabinet member must do in order to make certain there's no conflict of interest. the office of government ethics has looked at our holdings and given advice about what would need to be done in terms of divesting from certain stock holdings to make sure there's no conflict of interest. we've read those and agreed to those, signed those. that document is online for everybody to see so that everybody is absolutely certain that there will be no conflict of interest whatsoever. >> thank you. and you followed their advice? >> absolutely. >> dr. price, the collapse of obamacare has exacerbated our nation's health care problems. too frequently my colleagues and i have seen european idealism strangle functional insurance design with cost prohibitive measures. and despite these failed reforms, i don't think we can
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lose sight of the broader health system that's at risk. rare disease patients do not have access to life-saving treatments because policies that stem from obamacare prevent investments in innovative therapies that can cure and save lives. this is an issue that i'm deeply passionate about. dr. price, what steps do you believe will improve the pipeline for rare disease therapies to bring treatments and cures to patients in desperate need of hope? >> the drug act which passed, i think, 30 years ago or so was -- >> my first bill, by the way. >> it really has revolutionized the ability to treat rare diseases. it made the united states the leader in coming forward with treatments for rare diseases. and i think that there are things we can do in terms of patent protection, in terms of liability, in terms of incentive
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zag ization to encourage the discovery of rare diseases. >> we have a lot more drugs coming through, even some blockbuster drugs that came because of that little bill. we just put some incentives in effect and all of a sudden, there's an explosion in orphan drugs for population groups of less than 200,000 people. it's pretty important little bill. >> one of the success -- >> it was a republican bill. >> one of the success stories truly for public policy in the country. >> dr. price, one of the central duties of the hhs secretary is to be diligent and thoughtful when considering if a federal regulation is necessary and assessing whether the regulations impede research, development and innovation. over the years, the regulatory infrastructure guiding dietary sup elements has changed dramatically. do you recognize dietary supplements in helping americans reach and maintain healthy lifestyles? >> absolutely. >> will you commit to me and
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other members of the committee to work to ensure appropriate regulation and implementation of the dietary supplement health and education act so we can protect public health wle assuring consumers continue access to safeproducts. >> this is one of those areas where it's incredibly important to gain the information that you referred to to gather the individuals that know the most about this area, whether it's consumers, those providing the product to market. make certain there are protections for unadulterated products but it's absolutely vital we get this right. >> i'll tell you this. i have to commend donald trump for picking you. >> thank you. >> you are clearly one of the premier people in all of congress who understands the problems of health care. and you have the professional background that -- i don't know that any other member of congress can match to help solve
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the problems that we have. we've got a real messy situation here. and obamacare has not really helped. do you think obamacare has helped? >> i think some have improved in certain areas. the coverage is certainly improved. but the consequences of that, means that many people have coverage but they don't have care. so there's so many things about just the decision-making process, who decides about our health care? should it be the federal government or patients and families and doctors and we certainly believe the latter as opposed to the former purpose. >> i take it you believe that getting health care closer to the people say far better thing than everybody pontificating from washington, d.c. >> i think the more involvement that patients and families and doctors can have in medical decisions, the higher quality care they'll have. >> in my earlier life, one thing i did was a medical liability and defense lawyer, defending doctors, hospitals, nurses, health care providers, et
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cetera. what do you think we should do about medical liability? >> this i a really difficult challenge because it's not just the malpractice rates that doctors or hospitals pay but the practice of defensive medicine which are the things that physicians do that don't hurt anybody but they are tests and procedures and examinations that aren't necessarily needed to make a diagnosis or to -- >> that show up in their history. >> but shows up in their history so if they're called into a court of law they can say, i don't know what you wanted me to do because i did everything. if we look at it in that light and try to focus on decreasing the practice of defensive medicine to the benefit of patients, then we can get to the right answer and there's some exciting opportunities out there that have been bipartisan in the past. >> thank you, sir. i think you are a great nomination. >> thank you. >> thank you senator hatch. senator casey? >> thank you representative price. we're grateful you're here. thanks for the visit to our
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office. >> thank you. >> i wanted to highlight something we probably don't spend enough time highlighting or talking about, and that's the full protections of the -- what was known as the original bill, the patient protection and affordable care act. we've got a lot of shorthand terminology since then. and i know you and i have a basic disagreement. it's important to be candid about that. what a lot of people have forgotten about is that -- and the chairman had a chart earlier that outlined the categories of americans that have health insurance by virtue of various programs or i think the number he had on that post ber the number of americans in the americans covered was 178 million people. that's a lot of folks with conk who had coverage before. most of them have had coverage
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before the legislation and after meaning they're paying their premiums and had coverage. but they didn't have protections th onlyame with the passage of the legislation. we know that somewhere between 11 million and 12 million people have purchased health insurance through the individual marketplace. and so i want to ask you a couple of questions about those basic protections that are now law that were not law before. i think you'd agree with me and you know from your practice that you meet just remarkably inspiring people in your work and once in a while here in the senate we do as well. probably don't take enough time to have those opportunities. but one of the people i met in the lead-up to the legislation passing was stacey ritter from manheim, pennsylvania. she didn't have a personal challenge. it was the challenge faced by her two daughters. they were 4 years old, madeleine and hannah. as she said, as stacey said
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about her daughters, she said that they would be, at that time, before the passage of the bill, punished and rejected because they had the misfortune of developing cancer as a child. and her basic problem was the caps on treatment. so the first question i'd ask you in terms of your work as secretary of health and human services should you be confirmed would be, will you commit to maintaining the protections that ensure that no child, no child is denied insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions? >> i think pediatric cancer is one of those things that is remarkably challenging. i remember when i was in my residency and did a rotation on the pediatric orthopedic ward and so many of those children had cancer. before i began that rotation, i almost dreaded going to that month because i was worried about just the severity of the
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challenges i wld meet. it was one of the most uplifting months i spent in medical school because the children were so uplifting. and so absolutely, we need to make certain that every single child has access to the kind of coverage that they need and the care that they need. and there are a number of ways to do that and i look forward to working with you to make that happen. >> i heard the word yes there. secondly, n it's really hard to believe that we even have to ask a question about this next topic, which is victims of domestic violence. it was the state of the law prior to the passage of legislation that victims of domestic violence were considered americans who had a pre-existing condition. it's still the law in some states that they are not protected. so question number two is, will you commit to maintaining the protections that ensure that
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victims of domestic violence will not be discriminated against when purchasing health insurance? >> i think it's absolutely vital that victims of domestic violence and others, anybody, we need a system in place that ensures that individuals are either not priced out of the market because they get a bad diagnosisor not eligible or able to purchase coverage that works for th. >> and i want to interrupt. i don't want to get hung up on priced out of the market. what i'm asking for is an ironclad guarantee that that circumstance, that horrific circumstance will never be a bar to coverage, treatment or care. >> it certainly shouldn't be. as you well know, as -- if i'm fortunate to be confirmed, that's an administrative role and a policy decision that the legislators would make. >> i think we can agree on that. number three, will you maintain to committing the protections that prohibits discrimination
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and health insurance on the basis of health status or disability? yes or no. >> again, i think it's absolutely imperative that we have a system in place that works for patients and anybody not being able to gain access to the coverage that they want or need is not a system that works for patients. >> and i'll follow up with more questions. what i'm getting at here is that we've -- we had a state of the law before passage of the aca where individuals like that, whether they happen to have a child had a pre-existing condition, even if their parents were paying premiums for years, an insurance company could literally say, sorry, you have a pre-existing condition and your child doesn't get coverage. women were discriminated against because they were women. just a remarkable stain on america that we allowed that to happen. my concern, though, now is not just a series of concerns about what you have proposed as a member of the house.
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and what you could do as secretary, but i just heard earlier that the three areas that will be of focus in whatever replacement plan there is and i'm anxious to see it, would be, and i wrote them down, i think chairman alexander wanted to take off the table, and that's a good thing, medicare. but i heard there will be three targets. that's my word, of course. the individual market, medicaid and employer sponsored coverage. so i hope, if employer-sponsored coverage is a subject of change, that we'll ensure those -- all those protections that are in place right now. and that's why asking those questions. i'll follow up in writing or if we get another round, put me on record as incorporating by reference everything ranking member murray said about questions in an additional round. >> thank you, senator.
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>> thank you, senator casey. duly noted. i appreciate you using your seven minutes to use questions. senator isakson has deferred to senator paul. >> as a fellow physician and as a fellow physician who did some of my training at grady, congratulations. and i wish everybody on the committee could come to grady and see working there, see what it's like to work in one of our nation's biggest charity hospitals. often doing work that is just incredible. gun shot wounds, compound fractures of the femur, you name it. i remember being there as a student and then as an intern some and we used to calculate how many hours and divide by our income and say, what we wish we could get minimum wage. >> we're listening to a senate hearing with a man who has been nominated by the president-elect, congressman mike price to head the health and human services department. he's, obviously, going to be the
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individual who oversees the replacement of obama care if the gop is able to assemble something they can conclusively agree on. i have anne thompson here with me. i s i say agree upon because you have the president-elect saying he'd want insurance for everyone. one of the people who just questioned congressman price was senator orrin hatch who described this idea of insurance for everybody as a lofty idea but one that perhaps would not face reality given the expense and some other concerns that other gop members have expressed. so you have this nominee, the president-elect as well, saying something that doesn't gel with what we're hearing from gop leaders. >> we're not just seeing it with congressman price. i've been spending my day watching the nomination hearing for scott pruitt, the oklahoma attorney general who donald trump has nominated to head the epa. and there you've seen the same questions come up from the
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senators. especially democratic senators saying, look, donald trump went to flint, michigan, and said he wants to dismantle the epa. what's do you want to do? when you see scott pruitt backing off those comments saying the epa has a role, but he wants it to have a more modest role than it's had in the past. in fact, what's really interesting about watching that hearing is you can see how the polarization in the country is really evidenced in the senate environment and public works committee. you have the republicans on one hand complaining about the overreach of the epa under the obama administration and on the other hand, you've got the democrats who are concerned about scott pruitt's ties to fossil fuel industries. >> which is interesting. you have kellyanne conway who said these hearings have turned into an opportunity for democrats to humiliate some of these nominees. you specialize in covering the environment and epa. we're seeing a similar line with these nominees saying one thing
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opposite of what they said in some cases prior to being nominated for these positions. >> one of the reasons they do that is obviously they are trying to get as much support as they can. certainly in the senate environment and public works committee. it's interesting, i was talking to a scott pruitt supporter yesterday who said he really expects this to be a party line vote. but for any nominee, they'd like to get the opposing party, in this case, the democrats, as much support as they possibly can. but scott pruitt in particular, the epa nominee, he's really come under fire. you have the environmental defense fund which has never opposed a presidential epa nominee for the first time in its history opposing scott pruitt because of what they feel are his anti-environmental stances. >> he's sued the epa 14 times. >> 14 times. and on issues cory booker, the senator from new jersey, was just questioning him and he sued the epa on issues over clean air
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and clean water. and it's like, so if you are suing this agency, how can you head it? and that's one of the things the democrats are trying to bring out. i think what's really interesting about what pruitt has said so far is opposed to talking about how pollution and other vurenvironmental issues affect people, what he's said time and time again is his goal as epa administrator is to restore the confidence and certainty of those that are regulated. focusing on the companies rather than the people. >> a lot going on. a lot of moving parts. a lot of hearings that are not confirmation hearings and others it's just a crazy day but leading up to this inauguration on friday. south carolina governor nikki haley is now answering questions in front of the senate foreign relations committee. she's been tapped to be the next ambassador to the united nations. nbc's hans nichols is at the pentagon with the latest in that hearing. what's been the headline so far? >> the headline from nikki haley
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is she's deviating from the president she'll serve on russia. she was very clear she thinks russia has committed war crimes in aleppo by bombing hospitals and on the issues of sanctions, she seemed to hold the line much more in line with john mccain, a big russia hawk, than donald trump. have a listen. >> what is your view on sanctions as it relates to russia? >> i certainly think they should be preserved, and i don't think they should be lifted unless we've seen a strong change from the russian government. >> do you believe that russia committed war crimes when it ultimately indiscriminately bombed civilians in aleppo and hospitals in aleppo? >> yes, i do. >> tamron, that is nikki haley avoiding the mistake rex ti tillerson made. avoiding the mistake on russia. she's being quite hawkish. a difference position than the president she will be representing up there at the united nations in new york. a couple other headlines coming
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out, she sort of toeing the party line on where the embassy should be in israel. she said jerusalem. that's in line with donald trump's position. and also just the issue of ukraine and crimea. russian aggression saying that you need to counter it there. i really think the big headline, sanctions on russia and a little bt on where the embassy in jerusalem and israel should be. >> thank you, hans. commerce secretary nominee wilbur ross is before the commerce, science and transportation committee right now. this hearing had been scheduled for last week but the committee postponed it because the ethics paperwork for mr. ross was not ready. ross is a billionaire investor who is known in the financial industry as the king of bankruptcies. his firm busy struggling companies, reorgazes them and then sells them. nbc capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell is staking out that hearing for us. what's the headline been this morning? >> well, this hearing is different than some of the others you've been talking about because wilbur ross is not on a
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different page than donald trump for most of the topics that have been talked about at this hearing. one area where there is a difference is on how wilbur ross has handled that issue of separating himself from his businesses. he said when asked by democrat of connecticut richard blumenthal about his divestment and ross has divested about 90% of his holdings and he's a billionaire worth $2.5 billion, has assets around the world, separating humae ining himself that in agreement with the office of government ethics. when asked why hasn't the president done the same thing, ross responded the ethics rules that apply to a senate confirmed nominee, such as himself, do not apply to the president. blumenthal was using that questioning to say if the secretary of commerce is trying to avoid conflicts and is separating himself from his massive wealth, shouldn't the president do the same thing? beyond that, there's been a lot
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of conversation about things like trade where he and trump ring the same bell sag that nafta is something they could look at right away. he explained why he opposed the trans-pacific partnership. also talking about things like rural broadband and infrastructure. donald trump wants to increase infrastructure. ross is saying that oppressed by republicans from ruraluaries that they would consider expanding access to the internet in places where it is not so readily available. i think the big things about wilbur ross are more about who he is and what he's done in his professional life than any big conflict between him and the president-elect. but because his role would focus greatly on trade, that, of course, was an issue that got donald trump through the whole election season. and that will make him a focus in the administration if he is confirmed. so wilbur ross at 79 will be someone to watch if he's put into that job as the top leader at commerce once this process moves forward and there's an actual vote. >> kelly, thank you.
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we'll continue to monitor these hearings throughout the day. in just a few hours, also, some big news. president obama will hold the final press conference of his term. he's expected to take questions on the decision announced yesterday, just two days before leaving office, commuting the sentences of more than 200 prisoners, including former army intelligence analyst chelsea manning. manning has already served nearly seven years of a 35-year prison sentence for the 2010 leak of hundreds of thousands of classified documents to wikileaks. her term was the longest that any leaker has ever received and she is the longest serving whistleblower in u.s. history. the day after sentencing, manning, then known as bradley, announced she was a transgender man. dung her prison term she's been held in the men's military prison a ft. leavenworth, kansas. let me bring in criminal defense lawy lawyer. there have been reports this was a possibility.
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when did you first learn that, in fact, it would become a reality yesterday? >> i learned this yesterday when i received a phone call from the white house counsel. that's when i knew this was really going to happen. >> what's can you tell me about that phone call? >> the phone call came. i wasn't -- didn't know. we had hopes. we heard rumors but didn't know for sure, and then i get this call from someone who says he's white house counsel and he said in about two minutes, the president is going to announce that he has commuted your client's sentence to time served plus 120 days. >> was chelsea aware at that time? >> chelsea was not aware. chelsea was made aware some time later. normally they alert the prisoner first but they didn't want any leaks so they didn't tell her, they didn't tell me until literally the moment he announced it. >> can you tell me anything about her reaction? >> i have not been in contact with her. we are hoping to hear from her today. i talked to the prison yesterday as they were about to go tell
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her, which was about an hour later. >> what's been interesting here is that she had already served nearly seven years of that 35-year sentence. the longest time served for any whistleblower. but you have today and after the announcement, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticizing this decision. despite there being no evidence of the information leak putting our nation's security at risk -- >> well, they are basically lying because what the reports that i've heard of people saying, thousands of people were harmed. no one was harmed. there was -- this came out at the trial. there was not a single name of a single person who was ever harmed. what the secretary of defense gates said that the worst that happened was the united states was embarrassed. what chelsea manning did was a service to all of us. she showed us what war is really like for people on the ground. and that's what she wanted to do. she wanted people to understand
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the horrors of war. she wanted people to understand that we were committing war crimes. so we -- it was a great service. n we owe her a great debt of gratitude. >> people have compared her case to edward snowden asking what type of treatment should edward snowden receive. the white house on chelsea vers edwd snowden said chelsea manning is someone who went through the military criminal justice proerks exposed to due process, found guilty, sentenced for her crimes and she acknowledged wrongdoing. mr. snowden fled into the arms of an adversary and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy. do you see any similarities between chelsea manning's case and edward snowden? >> there's certainly similarities in that they were both trying to do a public service and both did a great public service. snowden ended up in russia because the united states, the obama administration, took away his passport while he was flying. so he got stuck there. but chelsea did go to trial.
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chelsea, the evidence, the information that she disclosed was at the most at the secret level, much of it was not even classified. >> we've been able to, nbc through cynthia mcfadden, obtanned an apology from chelsea manning at her trial. very few people have heard this. it was just played on nbc news. i want to give our audience an opportunity to hear chelsea manning in her own words at trial. >> as i go forward, i want to go forward. before i can do that, though, i understand that i must pay a price for my decisions and actions. >> paid a price for her decisions and actions. obviously, expressing regret and that apology. will we hear potentially a different response once she is free, a more -- i guess maybe defensive posture of what i did was right? >> i don't think she was ever
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saying what she did wasn't right. i think what she was apologizing for all of the trouble that thus caused for having to have a trial, but she has never said what she did wasn't the right thing to do. she did plead guilty to some misdemeanors about disclosing classified evidence because she did do that. but it was the only thing she could do because there was no other way for the american public to know what was going on. >> quickly on the personal note, the mental health note. reports of attempted suicide twice. >> correct. >> how would you describe her state of mind, her state of being prior to this news being released? >> i spoke with her yesterday morning before we had the news. she was nervous but resigned for it either way. she believes that when she does get out that it's important for her to take responsibility for the community, for the
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transgender community, to serve the community and all she wants to do is continue a life of service. and fortunately now, her prison sentence will end, and she'll be able to be the person that she needs to be. we really do owe her a debt, and it's time for her to get out. >> nancy, thank you. we are monitoring four hearings under way on capitol hill. let's listen in to the hearing for scott pruitt, president-elect's pick to head the epa. senator ed markey is questioning now. >> i can say to you, i will recuse, as directed by epa. >> i'm saying you should just start out saying i'm going to recuse myself from anything that relates to any litigation that i have initiated as the attorney general of oklahoma that questions the clean air, clean water, climate change, smog, mercury protections which are right now on the books that the
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epa is honored to protect. and if you don't do that, then we're going to have a fundamental conflict of interest that is presented by your presence as the administrator of the epa. it just gets down to being a matter as simple as that. >> thank you, senator markey. for clarification, will you fully follow the advice of the epa ethics council? >> yes. >> additional clarification regarding conflicts of interest. the letter to this committee on january 4th, and i'm submitting to the record, we, this is the office of government ethics, believe that this nominee is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations regarding conflucts of interest. and there was a letter yesterday from walter schaub responding to a letter from senator carper and other epw democrats regarding
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attorney general pruitt and potential conflicts of interest and they say if the office of government ethics has transmitted a certified financial disclosure report and an ethics agreement to the senate, which they have, it means the office of government ethics is satisfied that all financial conflicts of interest have been identified and resolved. senator ernst. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you attorney general pruitt for appearing in front of us today. i enjoyed our conversation both one on one and then in a group setting as well. and i would like to go back n revisit our decision on the rfs. as you know, iowa is home to 43 ethanol refineries. we are the largest producer of ethanol west or east of the missouri river. president-elect trump reiterated his support for biofuels while he was campaigning across iowa and all across the midwest. and those areas of the country
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overwhelmingly supported his candidacy. and led to his victory. and thank you for stating once again that you would honor his commitment to biofuels by carrying out the rfs as intended by congress. policy certainty is key for economic growth. and this is something that we discussed in my office. unfortunately, as a result of uncertainties surrounding the epa's renewable fuel volume targets in 2014, 2015 and 2016, second generation biofuel investment decreased and proposed projects moved overseas. fortunately, the epa has recently changed its course and released updated volume targets for the rfs. they meet the levels prescribed by congress. if confirmed, as administrator, what will you do to continue to -- >> as mentioned, multiple hearings taking place for
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cabinet selections by the president-elect. the one that's getting the most attention, even trending right now is not the confurmation hearing. it's a hear with congressman price, the pick for hhs secretary. he's been questioned by a number of senators, including bernie sanders. this is one of the stories -- big headlines involving obamacare and what the republicans say will be a replacement of it. >> the environment where there is no corruption. >> sunshine cures disease. that's exactly right. >> you've worked throughout your career in the georgia senate, united states congress and as secretary of hhs to make insure there's always transparency? >> absolutely. it's a hallmark and key in the area of health care and the services hhs provides. >> you love your country and your job and if you have opportunity to be secretary of health and human services, you'll do everything to disclose everything possible so there's never an appearance of any
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conflucco conflict of interest? >> the diligence they do to look at everybody's holdings and assets who are scheduled to potentially serve in the cabinet. and then they make a recommendation. a very specific recommendation. that's also available to be seen online. and we have agreed to every single recommendation that they made to divest of whatever holdings we have that might even give the appearance of a possible conflict. >> mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you, senator isakson. senator bennett. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i should tell you that i have never shown a knee to any nomination before they came to office but he gave me some medical advice. >> how are you doing? >> terrible. >> i can't ask you but i'm curious if you've gotten the mri. >> today. i'll let you know. >> congressman, i enjoyed our conversation and it's good to
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see you here. you've been chair of the house budget committee. a member of the tea party. been a strong advocate of balancing the budget introducing a balanced budget for a stronger america it's called. what i've noticed is after gaining control of the house, the senate and the white house, the first order of business for the republican majority here has been to pass a budget resolution repealing the aca and this budget resolution specifically authorizes $9 trillion in additional debt over the next ten years. it also rigs the bill in secret to block any point of order to the bill because that bill will increase the deficit. and let me read my colleague, a smart guy who is here, senator paul. it's highlighted in his floor speech on january 4th, he said, quote, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. republicans won the white house.
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republicans control the senate. republicans control the house. and what will be the first order of business for the new republican majority? to pass a budget that never balances. to pass a budget that will add $9.7 trillion of new debt over ten years. this is a facsimile of his chart. is that really, he asked, what we campaigned on? is that really what we campaigned on? the quote goes on. why would we vote on a budget that adds $9.7 trillion to the debt? because we're in a hurry. we can't be bothered. it's just numbers. i was told again and again, swallow it. take it. they're just numbers. don't worry. it's not really a budget. and yet the legislation says it's a budget! quote, so this is what republicans are for. this is the blueprint that the republican party says they are for. $10 trillion worth of new debt. i'm not for it, said that honest man.
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rand paul is right. the repeal law overrides two separate budget provisions already passed by the senate that prevent increasing the deficit by more by more than $1n in any given year, increase the deficit more than $5 billion in years further down the road. so i ask you, sir, are you aware that behind closed doors, republican leadership wrote into this bill that any replacement to the affordable care act would be exempt from senate rules that prohibit large increases to the deficit? >> as you may know, senator, i stepped aside as chairman of the budget committee at the beginning of this year, so i wasn't involved in the writing of -- >> you have been the budget committee chairman during the rise of the tea party. you're a member of the tea party caucus, you have said over and over again, as other people have, that the reason you've come to washington is to reduce our deficit and reduce our debt. i assume you're very well aware of the vehicle that is being used to repeal the affordable care act. this is not --
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>> yes. >> -- some small piece of legislation. this is the republican budget. >> yes. i'm aware of the bill. >> do you support a budget that increases the debt by $10 trillion -- by $10 trillion? >> no, what i support is an opportunity to use reconciliation to address the real challenges in the affordable care act and to make certain that we put in place at the same time a provision that allows us to move the health care system in a much better direction -- >> do you support the budget that was passed by the senate republicans? >> i support -- >> to repeal the affordable care act, that adds $10 billion to the budget -- deficit. >> the reconciliation bill is yet to come. i support the process that allows for and provides for the fiscal year '17 reconciliation bill to come forward. >> will you commit today, will you commit today that any replacement plan for the affordable care act will not, in any way, contribute to our deficit or our debt? >> i commit to working with you to make certain that that
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happens. >> will you commit as a member of the tea party that no replacement for this dreadful obamacare that allegedly created this deficit and debt will add to the deficit and debt? will you commit to that? can't you tell the tea party, you're not going to decrease the deficit by repealing the affordable care act? >> there are a lot of contributions to the debt and to the deficit -- >> really? -- >> as you know, senator. >> that's true. and you and i talked about that briefly. are you going to allow the repeal of the health care bill to be one of those contributors? to our deficit and to our debt? the cbo has said that repeal of the health care law could increase our deficit by up to $353 billion. that's what they said. rand paul -- senator paul, an honest man, has gone to the floor and said the first thing we're doing is passing a budget that increases it by $10 billion. what do you say to the tea party about that? >> what i say to the -- >> or more important, people that live in colorado. >> what i say to folks in colorado and across this land is
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that the congressional budget office and the conclusions they reached on that are in a silo. they're looking at it as if nothing else happened following the repeal of the affordable care act. so if you look at the whole constellation of things that will occur, i believe, in working with every member of congress, should i be given the privilege of serving as the secretary, we will make certain that it addresses the health care challenges that exist out there, that are very, very real, and we look forward to working with you and committing to work with you on being as fiscally responsible as we can possibly be, because the debt and the deficit is a real challenge. >> with respect, and i have a lot for you, with respect, that's what every politician says about the cbo. it says, numbers aren't true. and then we just run up the debt and run up the debt and run up the debt and run up the debt. almost the entire theory of the case here, i think, from the republican party on this subject, has been that the health care law has increased costs.
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that the health care law has increased our deficit, increased our debt. and i would hope that you could take a pledge today that would say that nothing that you would advocate for would pass or have the president sign into law, the president-elect sign into law would add $1 to our deficit or debt. >> i hope that's the case and i look forward to working with you to make sure it is. >> thanks, senator bennett. senator collins? >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. price, welcome. >> thank you. >> i, too, very much enjoyed my discussion on a wide range of health care issues in my office. many of us have expressed concern about what would happen to the millions of americans who are in the individual market of the aca on the exchanges. but there has been remarkably little debate on what would
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happen if congress took no action with regard to the individual market. could you give us your answer as far as what you would see happening to the individual market if we do nothing? >> i appreciate that, and i appreciate the opportunity to come visit you. we had a wonderful conversation about many, many different areas. the american people know this. they appreciate that the individual small group market, where many of the millions, as the chairman pointed out, gain their coverage, is, is breaking, in many, many ways. we're in a downward spiral on being able to provide individuals the opportunity -- any opportunity, at all, so one third of the counties in this nation have just one insurance provider. there are five states that have only one insurance provider. the premiums are going up for folks, the deductibles. i get calls almost weekly from
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my former fellow physicians who tell me that their patients are making decisions about not getting the kinof care that they need, because they can't afrd the deductible. if you're an individual out there making 30, 40, 50,000 bucks a year and your deductible is now $6,000 or $12,000 for a family, which is not unusual on the exchange, you may have an insurance card, it may have a wonderful name of an insurance company on there, but you don't have any care, because you can't afford the deductible. so people are denying themselves the kind of care that they need. and those are the things we ought to be addressing. and again, i hope in a bipartisan way, we'll be able to do that. >> thank you. i think that's a very important point to clarify, that in the individual market, we're seeing double-digit increases in premiums, higher deductibles, larger co-pays, and we're also seeing far fewer choices as more and more insurers give up and
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flee the market. the co-ops have failed dramatically. all 23 of them are in financial trouble. only five are still operating. so for us to say that everything is going well with obamacare is just not accurate. and that's why i feel that we do need to fix the flaws of what is a well-intentioned, but deeply problematic law. i want to clarify another issue on the aca. there's been much debate on whether we should repeal the law with no replacement. i think most people reject that idea. as you said, we don't want to pull the rug out from under people who are relying on the insurance that has been provided through the aca. another group has advocated repeal with a two or three-year delay. i think that approach also
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doesn't work, because it creates great anxiety foronsumers and insurers would be unable to price their policies if they don't know what the rules are going to be. it's my understanding that your goal is to quickly pass a reform package that would provide access to affordable health insurance for all americans with more choices than we have now. is that accurate? >> absolutely if it is vital -- we oftentimes don't talk also, about the 20 million folks who still don't have coverage out the there. there are a lot of people who don't. and if we're responsible policymakers and administrators of policy, it's incumbent upon us to step back and say, why is that? what's going on that's making that happen for those 20 million who don't have coverage in spite of all these grand things that were done. i would suggest that it's because the structure of what
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was done actually makes it virtually impossible for many individuals to gain that kind of coverage. we, on the other hand, i believe it's important that we work together to put forward a system that actually allows, again, every single american to have the opportunity to purchase the kind of coverage that they think is best for themselves and for their families. >> so your goal is actually to have more people -- >> yes. >> -- thank you, covered by insurance. i have been baffled over the years by what cms reimburses for and what it fails to reimburse for. senator gene shaheen and i finally scored a victory of getting cms to cover continuous glucose monitors for individuals with diabetes, that have been covered by the vast majority of private insurers, but when those individuals aged into medicare, they lost that coverage. it made no sense whatsoever. what i'm finding now is that cms
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frequently does not pay for services that helps to keep people well. there is a large practice -- >> we've been listening to the hearing for congressman tom price all morning long. we've been monitoring, actually, four hearings for president-elect trump's nominees for his cabinet. thank you so much for watching this hour of msnbc live. i'm tamron hall. we'll be back tomorrow. right the now, we're turning things over to msnbc's "andrea mitchell reports." >> and thanks to tamron hall and good day. i'm andrea mitchell here on capitol hill, where as tamron reported, senators are jumping from one hearing to another, to take their turn questioning donald trump's cabinet nominees. let's bring you up to date on what's happened so far today. most of the attention is on georgia congressman tom price. the president-elect's health and human services secretary designate, and a fierce opponent of obamacare. under fire for reported investments in health care companies before introducing legislation to benefit them. >> congressman chris collins, who sits on president-elect trump's


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